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New Zealand to accelerate tourism marketing program in China: expert


18:56, April 22, 2013

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, April 22 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's government tourism agency is to accelerate the rollout of its marketing campaign in China thanks to a boost in government funding, Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said Monday.

The agency launched its Premier Kiwi Partnership (PKP) program at the start of the year, helping Chinese travel agents produce quality holiday itineraries of seven to 10 days for travelers who wanted to come just to New Zealand, rather than see the country as an add-on to an Australian trip.

But Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key announced last week that this year's government budget, to be published in May, would see an extra 158 million NZ dollars (133.21 million U.S. dollars) spent over four years to promote New Zealand as a tourist destination in growth markets such as China and Latin America.

Bowler told Xinhua in an exclusive interview Monday that the extra funding would allow Tourism New Zealand to expand the PKP program even "further and faster" from the 18 China-based travel agencies it was already working with.

"The first visitors on PKP itineraries came in February this year, so it's still very new, but we're really pleased with having the opportunity to grow it even faster," Bowler said at the annual TRENZ New Zealand tourism showcase in Auckland.

"And the other area we're looking to do more investment in is southern China, and Hong Kong in particular, where there's extra seat capacity not just on China Southern Airlines (flying direct from Guangzhou), but also on Air New Zealand from Hong Kong."

He also said the anticipated boom in visitors from China was opening up investment opportunities in the New Zealand tourism sector.

Around 200,000 Chinese visitors arrived last year, but, Bowler admitted, accommodation was tight in the peak months of January and February, the height of the southern summer.

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